Like A Rolling Stone
Chapter One: Introduction
High school, as one may have been made aware of in books, movies, and angry blog posts, sucked. I didn't know if everyone who went through the public school system agreed with that statement, or if it was just because I was an angry loser with a lack of a social group, but I absolutely hated it.
It wasn't even the academic portion of it that bothered me. I was smart, and I did my homework. It was one benefit to having no social life; you have a lot of time to study when you have nothing better to do on a Friday night.
No, the technical 'school' part of it was easy. If people didn't have to interact with one another, high school would be a cake walk. Unfortunately, many believe the social experience to be the main function of highschool, and as you might have inferred, it was not a cake walk. For me, anyway.
I had gotten used to being invisible. I was anti-social. I couldn't just expect people to come up and talk to me if I couldn't be bothered to do the same.
The thing that bothered me was when people noticed me, as ridiculous as it sounds. If they had noticed me all along, and if I had been someone everyone knew and talked to on a regular basis, their noticing me wouldn't have been annoying. But that wasn't how it was. I sat at the back of all of my classes, and was quiet. And as soon as a teacher called on me to answer a question, everyone turned in their seats in awe. They hadn't even realized I was there, or they thought it was some sort of miracle that I was speaking. I got a lot of stares and heard a lot of 'Oh my God, she can talk'. It was incredibly irritating.
"Miss Smith." My name was called, and I was jerked out of my thoughts. "What is the molecular formula for propane?"
My heart sank. I was good at school when I paid attention, that is. And if there was one thing I did not pay attention to, it was chemistry. Which, as you might have guessed, was the class I was currently situated in.
"I don't know." I shook my head. People stared at me, some chuckling, and my face was flaming. My science teacher, Mrs. Warren raised an eyebrow.
"If you were paying attention," she said sourly, "You would have noticed me write it on the board not 30 seconds ago."
I looked up at the board, and she was right, it was there. Propane: C3H8 was labeled name and all.
"I suggest you stop daydreaming." Mrs. Warren gave me one last look before turning back to the class, "Now, propane usually exists in a gaseous state, but it can be compressed into a liquid."
I didn't care about propane, or any of the chemicals for that matter. I did well enough in the class to pass with a reasonable mark, and I would never use the information in real life anyway. So, I disregarded my teacher's advice, and went back to day dreaming.
I looked out the window beside me. Down below, the sidewalks and soccer fields were empty today. I studied the grass and the cracks in the cement. My eyes followed the path of the sidewalk, until I saw something. Rather, someone.
He was tall, and he was smoking a cigarette while strolling along. His hair was really dark, almost black, and I wanted to roll my eyes at the fact that it was most likely dyed.
I went to turn back to the board, my interest in the sidewalk entertainment dwindling, when a few other kids decided to join the party outside. It was a rather large group of kids, and they were coming up Cigarettes.
The leader of the new pack, an even taller guy with short dark hair, called something out to his victim, and Cigarettes turned around looking unimpressed.
Well, as soon as he turned around, shit hit the fan and all hell broke loose. The apparent gang leader charged at cigarette kid with fists of fury, and it was suddenly an all out brawl. Unfortunately for me and my entertainment needs, the fight was moving out of my line of vision.
I panicked. Well, as much as one should panic about missing out on an epic fight, anyway. A fight, I noted, that no one else had seemed to notice. My chem classroom was the only room with a window facing to the West, which is where rumble was going down. I guess everyone was too immersed in the exciting world of propane.
I have no idea what came over me. Maybe it was the thrill of it all. Nothing exciting ever happened to me, and I really wanted to know more and see more of this conflict.
"Mrs. Warren?" I asked outloud, and the stares came again. My teacher glared at me, but I continued. "I feel nauseous. Can I go to the bathroom?"
Mrs. Warren nodded, obviously annoyed, and I nearly jumped out of my chair. As soon as I was out in the hallway, I booked it down to the back enterance near the sidewalk.
I stopped in front of the door. I heard voices and sounds of the scrap, and wondered idly why the hell no one in the school was doing anything about this fight. I looked around in the hallway for any sign of human life, and then opened the door very slowly.
If I stayed behind the wall, they wouldn't see me. I just wanted to watch, was all. Fights were thrilling, and obviously much more entertaining than propane.
I positioned myself near the end of the wall, and peeked around the corner. I'd found the optimum viewing spot.
Cigarettes was getting beat pretty badly. He wasn't being kicked while he was down or anything, but his nose was bleeding and the gang leader kept punching him in the stomach. It was a wonder he didn't vomit all over his attacker. Finally, he collapsed against the ground.
As soon as it had started, it was over. I sighed quietly in disappointment. I'd gotten out of chem class for nothing. The gang reassembled, and their leader spoke. I guess I was glad I wasn't going to miss out on the epic line about to be delivered.
"Next time, you fucker, I'll make sure to break your God damn nose."
That was a good one. I wondered what Cigarettes had done. The group moved on, and poor Cigarettes wiped at his nose and spit. I grimaced. He tried to get up, but he struggled, and I was pretty sure he wasn't gonna do it any time soon.
I don't know why I decided to go and try to help him. Part of me had grown attached to him in the short time that I had watched him. Maybe I just felt bad that he'd just had the shit kicked out of him. Either way, my reasoning didn't matter now, as my feet were well on their way towards his limp figure.
When I stopped infront of him, he didn't seem to recognize my presence. I felt awkward, and I regretted coming out to help him. Who did I think I was anyway? Skipping chemistry to go watch a fight I had no business watching. God, I was stupid. When he finally saw me, he'd probably tell me to fuck off. But I waited, because really, I couldn't just leave him there. And I didn't feel like returning to class.
I mustered up all the courage I had, and spoke.
"Are you okay?" I asked, and for a minute, I thought he hadn't heard me.
But then he slowly lifted his head, and he looked at me. I turned red, but only because I realized that he intimidated the shit out of me. He probably thought I was an idiot.
I waited for him to reply. He put his head back down, and was silent. Then he tried again to get up.
"Do you want me to get a nurse?" I asked again, and he shook his head viciously. I sighed, "Do you speak?"
His head whipped up and he glared at me.
"If I open my mou-" he stopped himself, and got an odd look on his face. If he opened his mouth? I wanted to know what the hell this kid was talking about.
And then suddenly everything made sense.
If he opened his mouth, I found out, he was going to barf. Not because I'd had some sort of epiphany, and not because I'd somehow communicated telepathically with Cigarettes. No. I found out because he spewed the contents of his stomach all over my shoes.
Learning about propane suddenly seemed so much more appealing.
A Note To The Reader:
If you're a reader of How Unfortunate, and better yet, someone who enjoys How Unfortunate, fear not. If you are fearing. I don't know.
Anyways, what I'm trying to explain here is that I'm not just giving up on Eleanor and Theodore and their uncomfortable quest to find love. I'm just stuck right now, and I needed to write about something else for a second or two.
Hence this little piece of fiction.
If you're not aware of my other story, How Unfortunate, well. Then I'm sorry that I confused you. Unless you just skipped to the end of the author's note like I usually do. Then, well.. I don't know.
Let me know what you think of the introduction to this story. I'm going to try reeeeally hard to make it not cliche. Have faith, dearest readers.